1 Eagleton Notes

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Honesty, Insurance and Double Standards

I was part of a group of people discussing insurance recently.  Insurance companies are not, it seems, particularly popular with many people.  What struck me, though, was the rather illogical approach people sometimes have.

Of these otherwise upstanding members of the community one was proud of how he had saved on his premiums by making false statements to the insurance company.  Another was gloating at how he had managed to get more out of the company on a claim than he was entitled to.

How come, I wonder, was I being made to feel the odd one out in the conversation: either a fool or a prude.

The first person was aware that if he was found out (and in the event of a claim he was bound to be) his insurance policy would be null and void.  He needn't have bothered with insurance in the first place. Oh no, sorry, one has to have car insurance - he'd never have thought of breaking the law.  The second would probably never have been found out so will have got away with it.  But had he been......

However, and herein lies the rub, both those people were defrauding me and the millions like me who are honest with their insurance companies and are actually subsidising and paying for the dishonesty of the others.  

Fraud costs each of us with car insurance about £50 annually. It's the same principle as honest shoppers in supermarkets paying for the shoplifters.  The irony is that not one of those who defrauded the insurance companies would ever have dreamt of shoplifting: that would, after all, be stealing and they are all honest upright citizens.

Monday, 20 October 2014

An Unhealthy Interest

The young couple who are my neighbours have now acquired two puppies and two cats.  They all seem delightful.  Well, as delightful as cats can be when they are interested in one's goldfish.

The solution that I had found to keep the seagulls off seemed unlikely to deter this curious chap.

So another deterrent had to be found

and this is it: floating plastic interconnecting grids which prevent  the cat from getting into the pond or scooping the fish out and at the same time preventing the gulls swooping down.  What's more for most of the time they can hardly be seen 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thankful Thursday: Every Cloud

has a silver lining.

It's over five months since I wrote the last post on A Hebridean in New Zealand and today is the first time since I wrote it that I have re-read it in full.  I don't think that I appreciated at the time just how much I would miss New Zealand and my life there.  In fact from the moment I arrived back in Scotland the idea of not going back was banished from my mind.  I think that I must have been having a severe dose of reality when I wrote the post and that my optimistic me was on hold for a short while.  In fact I think that until last week I was actually sub-consciously more concerned about my cancer than I've been since 2010 and, perhaps, since I was diagnosed in 1998.

Today's reality is that I shall not be returning at the end of this month as I usually do and, indeed, it may well be that I shall not return this summer (New Zealand's summer that is). But then again I may. For many reasons it seems unlikely that I shall be able to resume my Godwit existence but I'm more optimistic now about a return to my other spiritual home.

My cancer treatment has been under close review since I returned  and a couple of weeks ago I had a complete set of scans which confirmed that no prostatic cancer tumours have developed in my abdomen or chest.  So the situation is that my blood count is increasing rapidly but is still low enough for hormone treatment to be delayed for a while in order to achieve maximum benefit.  Apparently that is because I am quite fit and the treatment has not had an adverse effect on me in the past.  So it looks like taking any decisions about returning to NZ for the time being are still on hold.

However who knows what will happen in a few months and I am now back in an optimistic enough frame of mind to believe that I shall be seeing The Family again in their own setting and that I shall again play croquet on the hallowed Marewa lawns: perhaps not this summer but certainly the following one.

Friday, 10 October 2014

MV Loch Seaforth

The new ferry for the service between Ullapool (on the Scottish Mainland) and Stornoway (on the Isle of Lewis) is called MV Loch Seaforth.  The ferry has capacity to take 700 passengers, 143 cars or 20 commercial vehicles. The vessel was named after the Loch Seaforth, a mail boat that sailed between Lewis and Mallaig on the Scottish mainland  between 1947 and 1972.

MV Loch Seaforth (picture from the BBC website)
She was due to take up her duties in September. However there have been a number of problems at the German yard where she is being built and now it is reported that the yard (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft) is on the verge of bankruptcy.  It is understood that an offer has been made by a Norwegian yard but if that falls through then it could be a matter for the German courts to decide and the handover of the ferry to it's new owners could be delayed and that doesn't bode well for the coming winter services.

Ah well.  We'll just have to wait and see.